This Is Why Fried Turkey Catches On Fire, According To Andrew Zimmern

While Thanksgiving is a fun and festive holiday full of good food and great company, preparing a huge meal for your loved ones can also be a little stressful. Between getting the butter-to-mashed-potato ratio just right to making sure the dinner rolls don't burn, there are a lot of things to keep track of in order to pull off a successful Thanksgiving dinner. But while the side dishes are important, there is one thing you definitely don't want to mess up on this holiday: the turkey. The tender bird is the main event of the holiday — the course that everyone is waiting for — so it would be devastating to put all that work in, only to have the pièce de résistance come out wrong.

On Thanksgiving, many people want to enjoy the crispy, savory flavor of a fried turkey, but it's perhaps the riskiest method of preparing the dish. If fried incorrectly, the turkey can come out dry, rubbery, or, worst of all, it may even catch fire if prepared wrong. But luckily, James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern has the perfect tips to help keep your turkey crispy and not charred this holiday season. His number one rule? Don't fry the whole bird at once — a method which Zimmern calls a "dangerous" way to prepare the turkey.

Frying the whole turkey is a fire hazard

In addition to being dangerous and at higher risk of catching fire, Andrew Zimmern also warns that frying the bird whole is likely to result in an overcooked outside and tough, undercooked inside. Instead, Zimmern recommends deconstructing the turkey and frying each piece individually to ensure they are cooked to tender, juicy perfection while limiting the risk of the bird catching fire. For best results, Zimmern brines the thighs, breasts, and legs for 6 hours and lets the turkey dry out uncovered in the refrigerator overnight before dipping each piece in buttermilk and seasonings and frying them separately.

Zimmern guarantees that "this method will give you perfect results every time," and based on the social media responses, many of his fans agree. "Will definitely be frying my turkey like this from now on. Cook smarter, not harder," @the_rah_rah_kitchen posted to Instagram. "OMG, that looks amazing!!!" raved one user, while another joked, "Sir, what time is dinner cause I definitely coming over." So if you're planning to fry your turkey this Thanksgiving, you'll definitely want to try Zimmern's technique for crispy, delicious fried turkey — without any unwanted flames.